As we move further from our last loading event (New Year’s Storm) and cold temperatures degrade the upper layers of the snowpack, the chances of triggering a slab avalanche are decreasing. However, it is not something that should totally be ruled out yet. We know that the snow from the storm is sitting on either buried surface hoar, buried near-surface facets or in thin snowpack areas, facets near the ground. This means there is poor snowpack structure and a persistent slab set-up above 2000′. Snowpack tests over the past few days have shown variable results but point to the continued potential for triggering an avalanche.
For those riders and skiers headed out today:
Snow pit on Sunburst January 8th and a snow pit from Seattle Ridge on January 7th. These illustrate the weak layers of snow in the snowpack under a slab, that in both spots the snowpack is still reactive and that an avalanche may be triggered.
Deep Persistent Slabs have been in the forecast every day starting December 14th. Because a poor snowpack structure still exists at high elevations above 3,000’, human triggered large and dangerous, deep slab avalanches are still possible. Weak sugary snow (basal facets) near the ground is creating a low probability/high consequence avalanche problem. Likely trigger spots will be in thinner areas of the snowpack that are connected to large, loaded slopes. Signs of instability will not likely be present and there may be tracks on the slope. The possibility of a deep slab avalanche should still be part of your decision-making before committing to big terrain in the Alpine.
Cold temperatures are continuing to weaken the surface snow. Observers in the Turnagain area yesterday noted this. Sluffs (loose snow avalanches) are getting larger and could catch you off guard in steep terrain.
Yesterday was mostly clear above the valley fog. The fog did not move out contrary to the morning forecast. Temperatures were in the teens to single digits with a minor inversion. Winds were easterly 5-15 with gusts in the high teens.
Today will be partly to mostly cloudy and there is a chance of snow showers this afternoon. Temperatures will warm into the high teens, low 20s. Winds will be easterly 5-15 with gusts into the 20s. Snow showers will continue overnight with a chance of 1-2″ of accumulation. Easterly winds will pick up this evening gusting into the 30s and temperatures will be in the teens to low 20s.
The pattern for the next few days sets up with warmer air and a series of storms on track to impact the area. Stay tuned for timing, precipitation amounts and temperatures.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||18||0||0||43|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||7||0||0||15|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||14||0||0||35|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||15||SE||12||16|
|12/10/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan and Sunburst from the air||CNFAIC Staff|
|12/10/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Nancy Pfeiffer|
|12/08/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Ryan Van Luit Forecaster|
|12/06/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||Billy Finley|
|12/04/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||A.Johnston-Bloom/ W.Wagner/ R.Van Luit Forecaster|
|12/03/19||Turnagain||Observation: Hippy Bowl||Nick Langowski|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan, All elevations||Eric Roberts|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
|11/30/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Treeline Plateau/ Common Bowl/ Ridge||Eric Roberts|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #2||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
Status of riding areas across the Chugach NF is managed by the Glacier and Seward Ranger Districts, not avalanche center staff. Riding area information is posted as a public service to our users and updated based on snow depth and snow density to prevent resource damage at trailhead locations. Riding area questions contact: email@example.com
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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